Board approves new charter school

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A new charter school will open next fall in the city's East End.

The city school board last night approved a charter for the Environmental Charter School at Frick Park -- an Imagine School.

Community organizers brought in Arlington, Va.-based Imagine Schools to run the school, which will open in September with about 250 students in kindergarten through third grade.

It will operate in the former Regent Square Elementary building, which the charter's organizers purchased from the school district for $3 million in 2006.

The school will add one grade a year until it reaches a K-8 configuration with about 650 students, said Philip Parr, a former Pittsburgh Public Schools official now working as a regional school developer for Imagine.

The board approved the charter by a 7-1 vote at a special legislative meeting. Jean Fink voted no and Mark Brentley Sr. abstained, saying he didn't believe the school had a plan for attracting children outside the East End.

At the board's regular legislative meeting Wednesday, members will vote on parts of Superintendent Mark Roosevelt's high-school improvement plan.

The board will vote on adding a ninth grade to Pittsburgh Frick 6-8 in Oakland, the first step in establishing an International Baccalaureate school; putting a ninth grade at the now-closed Milliones building in the Hill District, the first step in starting a university-partnership school; and moving Pittsburgh Schenley High School's current ninth-, 10th- and 11th-graders to the Reizenstein building in Shadyside next school year while officials decide whether to renovate or close the Schenley building in Oakland.

Students who would have entered Schenley's ninth grade next school year instead would go to Frick, the university-prep school or Pittsburgh Peabody High School, which would absorb Schenley's robotics magnet.

Joe Smydo can be reached at or 412-263-1548.


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